Early Rhoxolani Sarmatian II/24: 310BC-100AD

DBA list:
1x 3Kn (General): Gatalos, King of the Sarmatae
7x 3Cv
3x 3Kn or 3Cv or 2Ps
1x 2LH or 3Cv

The Sarmatians, Sarmatae or Sauromatae were a multi-tribal confederacy of western Scythian nomadic Iranian peoples. Their chief divisions were the Rhoxolani , the Iazyges, and the Alani. Sarmatia was a collection of independent tribes that encompassed parts of modern Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States, Central Asian nations and into central European countries such as Romania and Poland. The Sarmatae were first mentioned by Polybios (c. 203 BC - 120 BC), who included Gatalos, king of the Sarmatae, as one of the parties to a treaty concluded in 179 B. C.

These nomadic warriors fought from horseback, armed with bow, javelin, or kontos (a long lance held in both hands to thrust). Some horses were equipped with horn, leather or metal armor (cataphracts).

Both Herodotus and Hippocrates' accounts inform us the Sarmatians took interest in turning their women into strong-armed huntresses and fighters. Archaeological materials seem to confirm Sarmatian women's active role in military operation and social life.Their kurgans (burial mounds) are found in the southern Ural steppes. Polyaenus reports that Amage, a Sarmatian queen, ruled as regent for her incapacitated husband in the 4th century BC.

Strabo (born in Pontus 63/64 BC – c. AD 24) enumerates four Sarmatian tribes: the Iazyges, Royal Sarmatians, Urgi and Roxolani and according to his description, their location might be : the Iazyges, the Urgi and Royal Sarmatians between the Dnieper and the Danube, the southernmost part was occupied by the Iazyges, and the Urgi took up the northern position while the Royal Sarmatians were in the center between the two former tribes. The fourth tribe, the Roxolani, lived east of these between the Dnieper and the Don. Strabo mentions that the Roxolani fought under the command of their leader Tasios against the generals of Mithridates VI Eupator in alliance with Palakos, king of the Crimean Scythian state, but were defeated by Diophantos, one of Mithridates' generals sometime between 110 and 106BC.

That Mithridates VI Eupator, after securing the cities of Pontus, succeeded in winning the Sarmatians for himself is proved clearly by a report of Appianos (Mithr. 19), according to which he used Sarmatian cavalry as his vanguard as early as in the first war against the Romans.The Romans, on the other hand, faced with the lack of an adequate fleet, could not for a long time acquire naval superiority and since their main supply and reserve lines to Asia Minor went across the Balkans, Mithridates could easily endanger these by the help of the Sarmatians and the other Northern Balkan peoples. Near the time of the death of Mithridates VI Eupator, the strong Sarmatian tribal confederacy disintegrated and the "Royal" Sarmatians vanished from history, largely to be replaced by the Alani .The Sarmatians remained dominant until the Gothic ascendance in the Black Sea area and then disappeared with the Hunnish destruction of the Gothic empire and subsequent invasion of central Europe.

According to Cassius Dio, in AD 175, Emperor Marcus Aurelius sent 5,500 Iazyges to Britain. The archaeologist Sir Ian Richmond believed that their descendants lived into the 4th century in the neighbourhood of Ribchester in Lancashire. The movie "King Arthur" depicts these displaced warriors as the real "Knights of the Round Table".


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